MARQUETTE — Any native Yooper can probably tell you at least one tall tale, and one author has decided to put those tales in book form.
Jon Stott gave a presentation on his new book today at the Peter White Public Library. The book is called “Paul Bunyan in Michigan: Yooper Logging, Lore and Legends.” It’s a new take on both Paul Bunyan and the classic logger tall tale.
“I think they’re wonderful boasting stories. These men who originally told them lived a dangerous life, trees were dangerous, the weather was dangerous. They created this character who could beat the weather, who wasn’t afraid of rapids, who was just bigger than life. I think telling those stories gave them something to laugh at and feel a little more comfortable with,” said Stott.
Jon isn’t a Yooper himself, but he says he loves the area. He collected stories from the area for over twenty years before putting them to paper, and you can see his personal twist.
“I didn’t want Paul Bunyan to be fifty feet tall because if he was, why did he need anyone else to work for him? I wanted a fella who was maybe seven or eight feet tall, who was a good logger, who was a good leader, and who was a good story teller. In fact…in my versions, he tells some of the whoppers about himself and doesn’t expect anybody to believe them, but to think, ‘hey, he can tell a pretty good story too,'” Stott added.
If you’d like to buy Stott’s book, it’s sold in Marquette at Snowbound Books, in Munising at Falling Rock Cafe and The Alger County Historical Society Museum, and the Mustard Seed in Manistique.